“The way we were”
I began my teaching career in New Zealand and later worked in international schools around the globe before being appointed to the International Baccalaureate with responsibility for authoring curriculum and professional development publications.
In recent times, I’ve combined my passion for writing and education to produce my first novel, Beyond the Rimu Grove. My aim was to capture and communicate “The way we were.”
I’m now working on my second novel entitled War Bride. It’s a fictionalized account of the life of my late mother-in-law, Pru Fenton who met and married her Kiwi soldier in Cirencester, England in 1942.
“I found Beyond the Rimu Grove fascinating. I loved all the small mentions of music, fashion, furnishings etc to create the era. It also lifted a veil on the times which can be presented as clean-cut but of course people are people.
This feels very authentic. I couldn’t believe how much you managed to pack in. Thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Zana Bell (Dr) Author of: Fool’s Gold, Close to the Wind, Forbidden Frontier, The Tides of Time
I’ve uploaded Beyond the Rimu Grove to Smashwords publishing and distribution platform. It’s been accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog and is available from Barnes and Noble as well as other retailers including Apple Books, Kobo, Tolino, and from libraries through Smashwords Library Direct service.
Here I am in Abercanaid, South Wales (Near Merthyr Tydfil) researching the life of my late mother-in-law, Prudence Ashfield Price, in preparation for my new novel. (Working title: War Bride). Needless to say, it’s based on her experiences of meeting and marrying a Kiwi soldier and being transported to a new life on the other side of the world. So brave of the little Welsh girl from the Valleys who moved with her family to Cirencester during World War Two, worked in a munitions factory and fell in love with a Kiwi.
Since returning home from the UK, I’m underway with my writing and loving re-creating all that I encountered in the countryside, in museums like St Fagans, in books I found in Waterstones and most of all, through conversations with locals who share a passion for history.
It’s 1966 and the young ones are railing against the stifling, hypocritical values of the times.
With two years teacher training under her belt, Ellen Rose McTavish is sent to Ngarimu Valley School as a Probationary Assistant.
In the isolated farming community, her vulnerability draws in a strong support network, but not everyone is supportive and nothing in the Valley is quite the way it seems.
Devastated by emotional conflict, Ellie contemplates abandoning her teaching career. In a risky liaison, she finds the strength to carry on, oblivious to the impact her year in The Valley will have on the rest of her life.
Delighted with Jodi Bryant’s article about my writing
‘To be creative, you have to do something.’ – Ken Robinson
The way we were:
Remembered history as a fictional setting involves a certain amount of research and a lot of remembering, but memory is so subjective. Many questions came to light as I drew on memory – my own and others – to reconstruct the world of the sixties. Some were deep and meaningful, like how does our identity influence what we perceive and remember, and others more mundane, like what did people eat and drink in the sixties…
If you happen to remember things differently, that’s to be expected. Who we are and what we’ve experienced determine how we perceive and what we remember.